ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - For some, hearing you have cancer isn't the hardest part. Instead, it's what comes next.
"I know how challenging cancer can be," said Leah Biskup Coady, who started her fight against cancer when she was just 14 years old. "I collapsed playing softball. I lost all feeling in my right side, got nauseous, had a really bad headache."
It took eight months for doctors to find Coady's brain tumor. Between cancer and major brain surgery, the bright teen and athletic teen quickly found herself struggling.
"I had to work really hard to do what used to be really easy," she said.
But Coady did have one thing going for her.
"I'm a very determined person," she said.
That determination stopped, even when her cancer returned just before she was about to leave for college. Surgery and aggressive chemotherapy left Coady very weak, and she started having trouble with speech, memory and comprehension.
"Our ability to prevent the side effects of our treatment, this is what Pedal the Cause is all about," she said.
It's a sentiment echoed by Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, a pediatric neurosurgeon at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
"We measure not in whether we survive or not from this, but we measure the quality of life," he said.
Coady ultimately graduated from nursing school at St. Louis University, and worked as a nurse at Children's - a place where she spent a lot of time as a patient not too long ago.
Now she's months away from earning her master's in rehabilitation counseling. She wants to work with cancer patients and anyone else who is facing the fight for their life.
"They can see cancer as something that wasn't all bad," she said.